Page 1


VOL 1, ISSUE 10 APRIL 2018

THE STATE of youths in Kenya & Africa


Africa's next reggae ambassador


The most courageous woman in the world & the next President of Somalia


Business Opportunities in Africa That Will Make More Millionaires in 2018



Black Panther teaches Global Africans




VOL 1 | ISSUE 10 | APRIL 2018

Contents 12 Entrepreneurship 11 Business Opportunities in Africa That Will Make More Millionaires in 2018

24 Cover Story

Meet Ilwad Elman: bright, brave, bold & the next president of Somalia 

44 Travel Your full Dar Night Life guideline



36 Model Feature Meet Neza Rachel: Africa’s next top model

52 Music

Meet STONEBWOY! Africa’s newest Reggae Ambassador

60 Youth 68 Film

Black Panther: Black by popular demand

Raphael Obonyo: On the Challenges facing African youth & their tremendous power & potential



A ďŹ rst in East Africa

unmatched comfort, inight entertainment and connectivity onboard our new A330s

Mumbai & Guangzhou coming soon

EDITOR'S NOTE Dear Tap Family, WOW… This is our 10th issue. I’m having goosebumps writing this. When I first borrowed money from my sister (while jobless and broke, having just graduated university) to buy a laptop so I could start a magazine, I had big ideas. But the ridicule and skepticism I received from those I initially approached suggested that the project would never reach the place it is now. Our 10th issue and going strong! Who would have thought? On behalf of everyone at TAP and myself, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support on this journey. I am forever indebted to you. On the cover of this landmark issue is Ilwad Elman. Somalia-born and Ottawa-raised, Ilwad is an active leader and agent of change in her local and international communities. She is the director of programs and development for the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, Mogadishu, but holds many other titles and leadership roles. Ilwad also serves as a UN Peacebuilding Fund advisor. She is a role model, constant champion, and unapologetic ambassador for African youth and Africans of all ages, everywhere. It is my utmost honor to present one of Africa’s (and the world’s) most important leaders to you. Editor-in-Chief MOSES MUTABARUKA

VOL 1 | ISSUE 10 | APRIL 2018

The fact that this magazine was founded while I was living in Ottawa, the same city where Ilwad grew up before moving back to Somalia, makes her gracing of our 10th issue an even finer occasion. I cannot count how many times I’ve held up Ilwad as an example while addressing young Africans in the diaspora. So I want to personally dedicate this issue to young Africans living outside Africa. Please read/listen to Ilwad’s story, and never forget that you are important. Or doubt that you are POWERFUL. The 10th anniversary edition also features one of the most important African musicians today: Livingstone Etse Satekia, popularly known as Stonebwoy. As always, we also explore issues affecting African youth, through the life and journey of one of the most prominent youth advocates, Raphael Obonyo. On the entrepreneurship front, we bring you a piece on 11 ideas that will make you millions in Africa in 2018. This issue also includes a profile of Rachel (Neza) Uwineza, a Kampala-born, Kigali-raised model. We also continue our nightlife series, this time taking you to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Of course, a 2018 TAP issue would not be complete without our own in-depth Black Panther review. We are proud and more motivated than ever to continue connecting you to quality African content, stories and personalities. As our TAP family grows, we would like to take a moment to thank those who have been with us from the first issue until now, as well as welcome new members to the family and invite you to bring your friends and loved ones along. Special thanks to everyone who made this issue possible and to our contributors. Special thanks to John-Paul Iwuoha, Anthony Gebrehiwot, Pie & Ian, Athumani Nzowa (Mani24), Gabriel-Myers Hansen, Winnie Irangabiye, Diane Kamanzi, Cy Kari and Dennis Owusu-Ansah. With Love & Gratitude Moses Mutabaruka Founder/CEO – TAP Magazine 



“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter” African Proverb







e with us





11 Business Opportunities in Africa That Will Make More Millionaires in 2018

Africa’s new wave of entrepreneurs are showing no keen interest in the continent’s finite resources; its timber, gold, copper, oil and diamonds. Rather, they’re far more interested in a much more valuable resource: problems.




he term “millionaire” is taking on a new meaning in Africa. It’s no longer just about the size of your bank account; any shady politician, corrupt bureaucrat, or unscrupulous businessman on the continent can easily claim to be a millionaire. But Africa’s new and emerging generation of millionaires are not just excited about money. They’re also passionate about impact; they want to create value that touches and improves people’s lives. It’s called impact entrepreneurship. It’s the new way of making money and doing good, at the same time.

It’s a model that is proving that profit and ambition do not always have to come at another’s expense. Remember, the bulk of Africa’s “old school” millionaires made their money from resource extraction and sheer opportunism. Often, their wealth had to come at the expense of the common good and the natural environment. But Africa’s new wave of entrepreneurs are showing no keen interest in the continent’s finite resources; its timber, gold, copper, oil and diamonds. Rather, they’re far more interested in a much more valuable resource: problems. Africa is a continent overwhelmed by serious problems, from unemployment

and illiteracy, to hunger and inadequate electricity. As you’re about to find out in this article, this new generation of millionaires are focusing on the continent’s problems because solving these problems will unlock massive streams of wealth, jobs and prosperity for the continent. Most of these problems are tough, widespread and decades old. But while they are scary and frustrating to most people, entrepreneurs see them for the breathtaking opportunities they really are. This article profiles 11 of the most promising business opportunities in Africa that will make more millionaires in 2018.




For decades, waste has been a huge and nagging problem in Africa’s urban areas. In South Africa, the solution appears to be to convert waste into animal feed. AgriProtein is a business that grows maggots from waste collected from markets, households and businesses. The maggots are processed into a highly nutritious protein supplement that substitutes fish meal in animal feed.



Let’s meet them…

1) Crowdfarming

Across the world, agriculture is big business and most farmers are financially well-off. But not yet in Africa. According to the United Nations, Africa’s agribusiness industry is expected to be worth $1 trillion by 2030. And it makes perfect sense. The continent has a huge domestic market, owns 60 percent of the world’s unused arable land, and has abundant labour resources, and a favourable climate in most parts. Still, Africa spends over $30 billion on food imports annually. A big part of the problem is, most of Africa’s food is still produced by smallholder farmers in rural areas. They are largely poor people who use crude farming methods, and have very limited access to capital. But what if all of us in the cities pool

funds together, invest in these rural farmers, and take a share of the profits at harvest time? Wouldn’t that significantly boost food production, cut down the continent’s food import bill, and make more money for both the investors and the farmers? This business model is called “crowdfarming”, and it’s a trend that could totally transform the face of agribusiness in Africa. In Nigeria, two crowdfarming platforms — FarmCrowdy and ThriveAgric — enable working-class Nigerians to crowd-sponsor farming projects and earn a share in the returns at harvest time. Last year, FarmCrowdy raised $1 million from US investors to expand its operations. In Somalia, Ari.Farm is an online marketplace and crowdfarming platform that enables investors from across the world to play in the Somali livestock market. In South Africa, Livestock Wealth,

helps investors to own pregnant cows, and track them through a mobile app. Once the calf reaches seven months, it is sold to a feedlot or slaughterhouse and the return for the beef goes to the investors. As Africa’s population doubles over the next 30 years, the business opportunities in Africa ‘s agribusiness space are very likely to produce a league of millionaires who made their money while pulling thousands of farmers out of poverty.

2) Waste

For decades, waste has been a huge and nagging problem in Africa’s urban areas. Currently, most of the waste generated in Africa is either burned, buried or thrown away. As a result, more than 80 percent of solid waste produced on the continent ends up in landfills or gets dumped in water bodies. And as the continent’s population continues to rise, the waste problem will only get worse. So, what do we do with all the growing heaps of filthy waste before we find ourselves in the middle of the worst environmental crisis the world

has ever known? In South Africa, the solution appears to be to convert waste into animal feed. AgriProtein is a business that grows maggots from waste collected from markets, households and businesses. The maggots are processed into a highly nutritious protein supplement that substitutes fish meal in animal feed. The company has raised up to $30 million in funding, making it one of the best-funded insect farming businesses to date. In Ethiopia, the solution is to convert waste into electricity. The Repi waste recycling factory in Addis Ababa will produce 50 megawatts of electricity from waste collected from across the city. The facility is expected to supply 3 million homes with electricity, and avoid the release of millions of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere. Across the continent, entrepreneurs are hard at work trying to squeeze out value from waste, and in the process, they’re creating an industry that could provide both low and high-level jobs for thousands of people. From the trend of waste recycling and transformation initiatives I’ve observed, there’s only one place this is

heading to. I predict that over the next decade, waste will become a valuable commodity that households and businesses can sell for money. And the waste is likely to return to the food chain, to the electricity grid, or in some other recycled form.

3) Drones

In Africa, it appears there’s much more to drones than chasing terrorists and taking breathtaking altitude photographs. Drones are finding some of their most versatile and impactful roles in Africa and are helping with everything from logistics and farmland management, to humanitarian deliveries and conservation support. In Rwanda, Zipline is a drone delivery startup that delivers blood and medical supplies to clinics in the country. After successful pilot operations, it is now expanding into neighbouring Tanzania. Aerobotics is a South African business that uses its drones to provide bird’s eye surveillance for farmers that provides critical information that can boost crop yields by up to 10 percent. It now operates in 11 countries, including the US, Russia and the UK. In other parts of the continent, drones are playing more roles in humanitarian efforts to deliver aid to remote and conflict-ridden areas. They are also being used to monitor deforestation and illegal mining activities as part of efforts to conserve the continent’s forests and wildlife. As you know the drone industry is relatively new and still emerging. At this rate, there is still a wide range of possibilities for drone technology in Africa.



ENTREPRENEURSHIP this segment have been very lucrative for investors, the biggest opportunities will emerge from providing housing at scale, and at affordable prices.

5) Automobiles

And those entrepreneurs who can adapt drones to solving serious problems on the continent will open new and uncharted territory that could unlock wealth, jobs and more business opportunities in Africa.

4) Affordable housing

Africa is experiencing the world’s highest rate of rural-to-urban migration. And by 2030, it is projected that up to 50 percent of the continent’s population could be living in towns and cities. Urbanisation is great, but where will all these people live? And even if the governments tried, they cannot build homes fast enough to meet the teeming demand for accommodation. In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, the housing deficit is estimated at 20 million homes. In South Africa, the deficit stands at 2.3 million homes. Africa’s housing crisis opens a lot of interesting opportunities for several industries; from cement production and furniture making, to building contractors and mortgages. It’s no surprise Africa’s richest man,



Aliko Dangote, has expanded his presence in cement productionacross several countries on the continent. His interests in cement now make up a significant portion of his net worth. But beyond conventional housing, there is an interesting trend of homes being built from cheap and durable alternatives, like shipping containers. In Cape Town (South Africa), building contractors like Berman-Kalil are offering sustainable and affordable housing options by converting decommissioned shipping containers into low-cost homes. In Kenya, entrepreneurs like Denise Majani are also converting shipping containers into amazingly creative residential and office accommodation at half the price of contemporary housing. These alternative options are significantly cutting down the cost of building homes, making them affordable to a larger segment of the population. So far, most of Africa’s housing developments have focused on the premium and elite segment of the market. While the large margins from

As more Africans migrate to the cities, the big urbanization wave has caused a surge in demand for transportation services. Currently, there are just about 44 vehicles per 1,000 people in Africa. This is significantly below the global average of 180, and lower than the motorization rates of other developing regions like Latin America, Oceania and the Middle East. Estimates suggest that vehicle sales on the continent could reach 10 million units per annum within the next 15 years. It’s no surprise the big name automobile brands like Toyota, Volkswagen and Mercedes are already digging into the African market by setting up assembly plants on the continent. But what is more interesting is the emergence of “Made in Africa” automobiles. The Mobius II is a luxury SUV built in Kenya and is set to hit the market in 2018. It is being advertised as “an affordable, no thrills, but robust and classy SUV that’s built for African roads.” In Nigeria, Innoson Motors — a homegrown car maker – has released a range of private cars. And in Uganda, Kiira Motors is developing Africa’s first hybrid cars. It has already launched Africa’s first solar-powered bus. There are also promising indigenous automobile makers in Ghana, Tunisia and Sudan.

two examples of several local African products that have global potential. And in 2018, more smart entrepreneurs will carve niches for themselves by exploring these products and transforming them into international brands. Will you be one of them?

7) Startup funding

Currently, just about 50 percent of Africa’s roads are paved. As the continent’s development drive continues, this percentage will rise and so will the demand for automobiles and transportation services. This rise in demand will create several interesting business opportunities in Africa and open supporting industries including dealerships, spare parts, auto-service shops, auto financing, and even ridesharing services.

6) Local products for export

Africa spends billions of dollars on imports every year. This includes both food and non-food items. But beyond the traditional commodities – crude oil, minerals, cocoa, coffee, timber etc. — what else of value can Africa actually export? It happens there are a lot of local products on the continent that have the potential to become global brands. The problem is, we often overlook or look down on them. But a few interesting entrepreneurs are now turning local African products into global brands and best-sellers.

Take Nilotica for example, a rare type of Shea butter that is used in luxury beauty products sold around the world. The trees that produce this butter only grow at the source of the Nile River; in Northern Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. By working with local women in the region to process the butter, Leila Janah – an American entrepreneur — has built LXMI, a luxury beauty brand with a range of skincare products that sell in over 300 beauty stores across the world. Another example is fonio, a forgotten cereal that has been grown in Africa for more than 5,000 years. Largely regarded as a “miracle” grain, fonio is gluten-free and rich in several nutrients that are deficient in most other major grains, such as rice, wheat and barley. By processing fonio into products like crackers, cereals and pasta, one Senegalese entrepreneur and ex-chef — Pierre Thiam – has put this ancient food on shelves in New York, with plans to roll out to other stores across the USA. Nilotica and fonio are only just

The buzz of entrepreneurship activity on the African continent has caught the attention of a growing number of investors, both within and outside the continent. The potential returns on investment in Africa is currently one of the highest in the world, and has become too obvious for investors to ignore. Since 2012, the amount of seed funding and venture capital flowing to Africa has grown 1,400 percent.And the trend continues to look up. In 2017 alone, African tech startups received $560 million in funding from local and international investors. This amount represents a 53 percent jump from the $366 million raised one year earlier, in 2016. And the biggest deal of the year was a $69 million investment in TakeALot, a South African e-Commerce startup. Also, Silicon Valley accelerators such as 500 Startups and Y Combinator have increased the number of African startups that are admitted into, and receive funding, through their programmes. Currently, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are in the spotlight and take the lion share (about 75 percent) of the investment inflows. It’s important to note that every year, the size of venture capital investments that take place around the world exceeds $100 billion. Currently, Africa



ENTREPRENEURSHIP Startup Investment in Africa Venture capital raised by African Startups No. of funding rounds $600 million










2015 gets less than 1 percent of this global deal flow. It’s still very early days in Africa’s startup funding space, and 2018 will certainly attract more investors looking to explore emerging business opportunities in Africa, and take their positions in lucrative deals.

8) Fintech

Africa’s underdeveloped financial services industry presents very tough, important and widespread problems that need to be solved. After more than 50 years of banking on the continent, just about 34 percent of adults in sub-Saharan Africa have bank accounts or access to formal financial services. It is clear the traditional model of banking is too slow, inflexible and incapable of spreading financial access at the pace the continent requires. But with the spread of mobile



2016 phones and the Internet across Africa, the continent’s entrepreneurs are leveraging technology to deepen financial access in ways the banks never have. Last year, Flutterwave, a Nigerian fintech startup, raised $10 million in funding from a group of investors led by Greyloft, a US-based venture capital firm. To date, it’s one of the highest Series A round investment in an African startup. And there are a wide range of opportunities that are opening up in Africa’s financial services space. They include bill payments, bulk disbursement, international remittances, merchant payments, mobile airtime top up, mobile banking, person-to-person transfers, peer-topeer lending, micro insurance, and several other interesting opportunities. In the area of overseas remittances


for example, Africa loses more than $1.4 billion annually in charges alone. Western Union and MoneyGram have been longtime monopolies in the remittances segment, and are clearly ripe for disruption. Opening up, growing and disrupting Africa’s financial services market will certainly transform millions of lives on the continent and create a league of millionaires in the process. Fintech will surely remain one of the top business opportunities in Africa to watch in 2018.

9) Low-cost private schools

According to this report titled: “The Business of Education in Africa”, it is estimated that 1 in 4 African students – a total of 66 million – will be enrolled in private schools by the year 2021. Rapid population growth, poor funding, corruption and neglect have caused a serious deterioration in the

According to the IFC, Africa’s $21 billion healthcare market could double in size in just 10 years. Currently, a growing number of Africans are seeking medical help outside the continent, in places like India, the Middle East and Europe. This growth in outbound medical tourism costs Africans millions of dollars every year.

quality of education in public schools on the continent. As a result, more African parents are looking to private schools to ensure their kids get a good education. And the demand for this alternative is skyrocketing. For example, in Nigeria, the number of low-cost private schools in Lagos, its commercial capital, is estimated to be as high as 18,000. By comparison, in 2010-11 the city had just 1,600 government schools. And this trend of low-cost private education is leading entrepreneurs to come up with several interesting models. In Tanzania, the Silverleaf Academy is a chain of low-cost private primary schools that charge a daily school fee of $1.50. The school uses a technologybased approach and offers a curriculum taught by internally-trained teachers. In Nigeria, the Lekki Peninsula Affordable Schools is a stand-alone

low-cost school that charges an average annual fee of $125. The school has received up to $75,000 in funding from Village Capital and Pearson Affordable Learning. As more players enter the lowcost private education space on the continent, I suspect the fierce competition will improve the quality of education, drive down school fees, and afford many children the chance of a decent education. Rather than set up exclusive private schools for the elite, who says entrepreneurs can’t make good returns and find tons of fulfillment in educating children en masse?

10) Urban logistics

The future of Africa is in the cities. And by 2030, up to half of the continent’s 1.4 billion people will be located in the cities. Currently, about 60 African cities have a population of over 1 million



ENTREPRENEURSHIP people. At the top of the pack are cities like Lagos (21 million), Kinshasa (10 million), and Cairo (9.5 million). And one of the biggest problems that appears to be worsening with the growth of Africa’s urban populations is congestion. Most cities on the continent do not yet have welldiversified transport systems, so getting around town can be a very frustrating endeavour. It’s a logistical nightmare that worries both consumers and businesses. Thankfully, some African entrepreneurs are already hacking this problem. In Kenya, Twiga Foods uses technology to pool the orders of several urban retailers, saving them a trip to the market by delivering to their doorstep. It is now the largest distributor of a number of basic food staples in Kenya, and the startup raised $10.3 million last year. In Nigeria, MAX is a fast-growing startup that provides last-mile delivery services. Last year, it launched an ondemand motorcycle courier service for clients who have critical deliveries that need to beat the notorious congestion on Lagos roads. As we go into the future, more entrepreneurs will figure out ways to outsmart the complex problems and frustrating challenges of logistics in urban areas. In 2018, urban logistics will likely remain one of the most promising emerging business opportunities in Africa.

11) Healthcare services

With poorly-funded public hospitals, and a significant brain drain of African doctors to countries outside the continent, waiting for the government



to fix the continent’s healthcare sector will not work. Also, waiting for international “donor” funds (which are channeled through governments) will not work too. We have been doing the same thing for decades and very little has changed. With 25 percent of the global disease burden, a rapidly growing population, and a rising middle class, Africa’s healthcare market presents a huge opportunity. According to the IFC, Africa’s $21 billion healthcare market could double in size in just 10 years. Currently, a growing number of Africans are seeking medical help outside the continent, in places like India, the Middle East and Europe. This growth in outbound medical tourism costs Africans millions of dollars every year. To arrest this ugly situation before it gets much worse, Africa needs a private-sector led transformation of its healthcare industry that requires both the innovation of local entrepreneurs and investment from local and international investors. Gladly, this transformation is already happening. In East Africa, a growing number of Indian hospital groups, like Narayana and Gurgaon, are setting up hospital facilities to tap into the continent’s healthcare market. In Kenya, Dr. Maxwell Okoth, a young medical doctor and entrepreneur, started a chain of low-cost hospitals with only $3,000. He is now setting up a 100-bed multi-specialty hospital which will have a cancer center, radiology center, pediatric unit, and several other specialties. In Nigeria, Lifebank – a startup that

develops smart ways to deliver critical blood supplies to hospitals in busy cities – raised $0.2 million to support and expand its operations. Across the continent, more entrepreneurs are exploring creative alternatives to solving Africa’s significant healthcare problems. There is no doubt their efforts will not only transform the continent’s healthcare industry, but will unlock millions of job opportunities in the process. 2018 will continue the reign of business opportunities in Africa Millionaires in Africa should no longer be determined and celebrated by the size of their bank accounts, but by the size and scale of the problems they’re solving on the continent. Africa is a continent that significantly rewards problem-solvers, and provides a rare opportunity in today’s world to make a lot of money, while doing a lot of good at the same time. It is now abundantly clear that entrepreneurship holds the keys to Africa’s transformation; not global pity, and certainly not foreign aid. The winners in 2018 will be those entrepreneurs and investors who apply their creativity and determination to solving serious problems on the continent.If you found this article useful, please forward it via social media or email to the smart people you know. Africa is on the move and needs as many forward-thinkers who can see the continent’s challenges for the amazing opportunities they really are. Let’s go, Africa! John-Paul Iwuoha is an author, impact entrepreneur, business strategist and founder of Smallstarter Africa. He works with entrepreneurs and investors to start up and grow businesses in Africa.

Sending smiles over miles ‌ Use TAPFAM

Promo code & get

10% off

The platform that allow you to send AirTime & Data for your friends and families in more than 140 countries.

Africa is closer with MoneyGram











Ilwad Elman grew up like an “average” girl in peaceful Canada, but at 19 heard the call to go back to her native Somalia to work fearlessly for peace, equality and economic empowerment in a nation still struggling with Al-Shabab, patriarchal attitudes, and gender-based violence. Eight years later, she has helped bring about unprecedented legal and societal changes while serving as a director at the Elman Peace Center, which rehabilitates former child soldiers and victims of sexual violence. Recently, Ilwad was awarded the ‘2015 Gleitsman International Activist Award from Harvard University and was honored by African Youth Awards for being one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans of 2017. Full interview audio on = https://soundcloud. com/tap-magazine/ilwadelman


Please introduce yourself to the TAP family. y name is Ilwad Elman, I work as a director of programs and development at the Elman peace centre in Somalia. I grew up in Ottawa, Canada, and life was pretty normal, average I’d say. I left Somalia when I was a year and half old. Like millions of other people, when the war broke out we fled and sought refuge, and the closest place for refuge was in Kenya. We settled in a refugee camp called Otengo, which is now Dadaab and the world’s largest refugee camp. Several years after, we got asylum and moved to Canada. That’s where my two sisters and I grew up, with our mother. I lived on the west side of Ottawa. Throughout my time there, I always felt like I was just a regular Canadian girl. Growing up in Ottawa, did you ever think you would go back to Somalia one day? While I was in Ottawa, I didn’t necessarily have plans to move back to Somalia, especially at that age. I left Canada when I was 19. I’d never thought that if I ever went back to Somalia I would be that young. But growing up in Canada, it always was in the back of my mind, especially because of my family’s legacy in Somalia. I would meet Somali Canadians and, when they would learn of my last name, they were in awe that they were meeting the child of Elman [Ali Ahmed]. My mother, as she was raising us, made sure we knew about the work she and my father had done together, so having that constant connection with Somalia did make me feel like one day I would go back. A lot of inclination to actually go back came when my mother left my sisters and me behind in 2006 and returned to the work she and my father had initially been doing together. What are your memories of growing up in Ottawa? I would say I grew up normally. I went to school, I had friends; I had some friends in the Somali community, friends from many different backgrounds. I think one thing that was always ingrained in my sisters and me was that we were in Canada for a reason—as many immigrants



COVER STORY are taught from a very young age. You are here to get educated, and then to one day contribute back to your country. I do attribute a lot of my way of thinking and my ability to come up with innovative solutions for one of the most stagnant problems in Somalia to my upbringing in Canada. Being in such a plural and free and fair society gives you something that you’ve experienced, actually lived through, to aspire to in a country that is transitioning out of conflict. Tell us about your mom leaving for Somalia. My mom left in 2006, during what was arguably one of the most difficult times for Somalia. We always knew that she was going to go back; we were raised knowing that, and her benchmark was that once my younger sister and I were in high school, it was her belief that we would be old enough then to take care of ourselves. So my mother went back, and what was really hard about that was not just that we were alone in Canada; it was the uncertainty of what she was dealing with every single day in Somalia. We would lose contact with her for a few weeks at a time. So when I went back to Somalia the first time, initially it was to understand what was compelling her to be there. What was it that she was constantly working on, so that she was there and not with us? I wanted to also rest my heart and know that she was safe. When you first went to Somalia, what did you see? I was confronted by a lot of things that in many ways I was expecting. I did come into an ongoing conflict. There were murders, bombings, there



was a war—something you heard about in movies or in history class in Canada was now literally in my backyard. Up until that point, I don’t think I had experienced real grief from someone close to me dying. Yes, my father had died, and distant family members, but not someone that I was sitting next to, as close as you and I are sitting right now, and then an hour later this person was dead in front of me. All those things I had to confront within the span of a week, and then be told

My motivation for staying was that I found purpose. I saw that I was more useful in Somalia, and also really felt conflicted. [I had to ask myself:] Why do I feel that just because I have a Canadian passport I can just pack up and run away? Why am I not strong enough to stay? Why can I not add value to the community, my community? that you don’t cry, you don’t grieve, you don’t mourn, you move on. It was a lot to take in. But in complete contrast to that, I also saw the incredible impact that my mother was able to make, the countless number of people that needed her the same way that I and my sisters needed

her. And I was inspired. I was inspired by the resilience of the people that I saw. How privileged are we to think that we can’t handle something like that, when it’s an everyday reality for many people? And despite all that suffering, they still find joy and love and community and friendship, and that gave me the strength that I needed to also be there. So you went back after that one week? No, I never left! Why did you stay? Well, I think my reason for going back to Somalia was very clear: I

wanted to understand why my mother was there, what her reality was. My motivation for staying was that I found purpose. I saw that I was more useful in Somalia, and also really felt conflicted. [I had to ask myself:] Why do I feel that just because I have a Canadian passport I can just pack up and run away? Why am I not strong enough to stay? Why can I not add value to the community, my community? And to be honest, a big part of me choosing to stay was also the level of resistance my mother was getting when it came to the work she was doing. She was working against gender-

specific constraints. I emphasize this, because one of the harmful traditions in my culture is that if a man dies or divorces his wife and doesn’t have any sons, the women have no claim to inheritance. And that inheritance is not just financial or property, but even something like upholding a legacy! So, when my mother, who only had daughters, went back to Somalia at her own risk, when she had the privilege and opportunity to just stay in Canada but wanted to preserve my father’s legacy and to continue the human rights work that they had accepted, she was met with resistance that you can’t even imagine. From my own family, my

uncles, my father’s own brothers. All this just because she is a woman. So I thought about it. If she, an educated, well-travelled, cultured, very strong woman, is getting this much resistance just for being a woman, then how about the 8-year-old girl, the 20-year-old woman, the divorced or widowed woman that’s also in Somalia? That was an outstanding call to action for me, and my mother I believe, a turning point for us, that we have a moral responsibility to try and create conditions that improve the community and society for women. From 2010 till now, how have things




Yes, my older sister was in the army in Canada and my younger sister in the army in Somalia. I really attribute my thinking, and my sisters’ thinking, if I can speak on their behalf, to our mother. She is an incredible force.



changed? It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been in Somalia for eight years. If I look back at that period of time, one of the key things for me is that we set up the first rape crisis center, for survivors of sexual gender-based violence in Somalia. We went from a position where you couldn’t even talk about rape, when the president at the time organized a press conference to say that rape doesn’t happen in Somalia. Our religion, our culture, our community traditionally doesn’t create space for discussions of this nature to happen, and it’s believed that anyone talking about this issue is trying to slander our community. But now, we have a legal framework growing. Sexual offences are being debated, the penal code

from 1962 is being reviewed—and all because of generating a discussion on sexual violence. There was a lot of resistance at first, but now our community is accepting it as a problem and creating pathways to solutions for it. We have developed various agreements with the government, and that includes the work that we are doing on the rehabilitation and reintegration of children. One of the things I’m very proud of is that in this period of time we have developed a standard, official operating procedure with the government that says any child who’s captured or surrendered to the front lines has to be handed to our care within 72 hours. I think also about the social norms

that are being challenged. For a long time, gender-based violence in Somalia was considered a necessary milestone in a girl’s life: things like forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and denial of access to resources like education were just considered ordinary things that happen to women and girls. But now we have an entire community of women that are refusing to be silent. Some 24% of members of parliament are women, and that’s a result of a tremendous number of women banding together through advocacy. Outside of the work that I’ve been doing with my organization, Elman Peace, I’ve been serving in different capacities. One of the things I’ve been excited about, these past two years, is working with the Kofi Annan Foundation. I’ve had the extreme pleasure to be directly mentored by [former UN secretary general] Mr. Kofi Annan, and that’s something that is part of my own personal journey of ensuring that young women, in particular, are not just viewed as victims, or beneficiaries, or at best implementing partners of these various resolutions, treaties, declarations or recommendations that are being made from big bodies like the UN or governments, but are actually in the position to make decisions. What is the situation with child soldiers in Somalia? Is the problem declining or increasing? Child recruitment right now in Somalia is actually increasing. And we are marking more than 20 years since the UN mandate on children in armed conflict. A special representative wrote a report about the situation globally, but in Somalia, just a couple of weeks

Elman Peace & Human Rights Center highlights • Education program alone supports more than 10 000 people a year. • Children in Armed Conflict program support 750 boys and girls every year. • Survivors of gender- based violence program – Supported more than 6000 women and girls affected by sexual gender based-violence in the last 3 years. Visit: Elman Peace @ Ilwad Elman @ ago we received a handover of children who had been captured in Somalia while fighting for Al-Shabab: children as young as 8 to 14. Boys and girls? Boys. This is the reality today, and I believe that the issue of children in armed conflict being so sensationalized is in part a positive thing. It has been mainstreamed, like the Kony 2012 campaign, which really shed a big global light on it, which is important. But then, people forgot about it and most people now don’t think that this is still happening today. Parents are being forced to trade their children or otherwise fund terrorism activities. And that’s what’s happening in Somalia. If you can’t pay 30 dollars a month, if you can’t buy weapons for armed groups, then the only thing you can do is give your child. In my country, Somalia, 75% of the population is under 30. Some 60% of that population is under the age of 15. It is a country of children. So when we talk about child recruitment, it is incredibly rampant. But we need to move beyond treaties and resolutions. I think that there needs to be a more global consciousness of this. How many people do you care for in your center, roughly?

It’s hard to say how many people, because we have many programs. In our education programs alone, we have more than 10,000 people a year. We have a program for children in armed conflict; we take in 750 people every year, mostly children, both boys and girls. For our work with survivors of gender-based violence, in the last three years alone we supported more than 6,000 women and girls who’ve been affected by sexual or gender-based violence. It’s across the board. Our services are about changing the mentalities and mindsets of people and altering their harmful behaviors. So that the environment we’re sending these people back into is more enabling and progressive for them. There have been times where we have, unfortunately, had to respond to the same woman more than three times, because we’re sending her out into a community that’s not punishing sexual violence. That is no justice for women. The community needs to stop this practice, so it’s both for the individuals that we reach through individual recovery but also for the wider community. What do you think are the top three issues affecting African youth today? Africa is a very young continent. I



COVER STORY "By being an unapologetic ambassador for Africa. I try to use my own social media posts to show that there’s much more to Somalia [than most people believe], to show the beauty, the love, the community, the gorgeous natural resources and the ocean, and use that to shift someone’s beliefs about Somalia." think that there needs to be greater investment in education. In most parts of the continent, education is a commodity, privatized. I know for sure that in Somalia it’s 100% privatized. Even what we saw in demonstrations in South Africa—the fees are a structural type of violence that keeps people in positions of extreme and systemic destitution. I think there needs to be a great investment in education and a democratizing of the process, so that young people in Africa can live to their full potential by having access to these resources. I think there is a lot of innovation happening, and it’s very exciting for the continent right now. I think there needs to be more opportunity for young people to get access to grants, to really turn their ideas into business opportunities. I think there needs to be more focus on supporting young people to support themselves. Finally, I think it’s also about the imaging. The narrative that plagues us is that young people are people of desperation, of hunger, of poverty, of conflict—when we as Africans know that there is so much more to the story. And I think that’s a narrative



that’s kind of haunted us around the world. It’s one of the things that are really holding young Africans down, and we have the power to change that by telling our own stories. I think that that’s one of the things that TAP is doing, too. Having spent time in the West and now in Somalia, how do you think we can individually start to change the narrative and rebrand Africa? By being an unapologetic ambassador for Africa. I try to use my own social media posts to show that there’s much more to Somalia [than most people believe], to show the beauty, the love, the community, the gorgeous natural resources and the ocean, and use that to shift someone’s beliefs about Somalia. Because everything else you see online, or in mainstream media, paints a very scary and very negative picture. So, I have a responsibility because I live there to show the beauty of it. And that’s something that every young person can do, wherever they live on the continent, you know! Show the beauty of your country; don’t highlight the negative of it. Be proud. That’s what I would

say, because there’s a lot of global conversation right now that Africa is “rising”—but Africa is rising for who? This is what I always ask. If we as Africans are not proud, this is just the second wave of the colonization of Africa, when everyone else is interested in it, but we are not representing it appropriately. I saw that there is a program for yoga for peace at your center. That’s beautiful. How did that come about? Well, yoga, I mean the idea behind it is to explore alternative techniques for mental health. A WHO study done in 2010 says one in three people in Somalia suffer from trauma-based mental health issues. That’s a huge number, and it’s believable, because we don’t create pathways for people to talk about grief, what they are struggling with. You are told to just move on. And what we wanted to do is take a step back. If it’s considered to be a Western belief that you should sit in front of someone, a stranger, and talk about all your problems, then maybe that’s not something that can work. But what

we can do is look at how we treat the somatic symptoms of trauma and stress that we carry in our body. How do we create an enabling environment where people can sit and talk? How can we create a space of trust and community, where people can at least begin to share their own journeys and hopefully find people who have experienced similar backgrounds, and then find a place of safety and trust where they can talk about problems and come up with solutions together? That led us down a journey of looking at what’s happening in the world, what has worked in other contexts. We found that yoga has been a very interesting tool for survivors of sexual gender-based violence, helping them find community and a survivor-centric approach to communal healing. We partnered with a Nairobi based organization on the Africa yoga project, and they trained two of our counsellors: a young man who’s working with child soldiers, and a young woman who’s working with survivors of sexual and genderbased violence, and together they each finished 400 hours of training. They took that back to Somalia, and they incorporated it into the case management work that they were already doing. We saw this creating so much impact: girls that otherwise would not even speak up in a class began talking about their fears and their problems, the challenges they have at home etc. Let’s talk a little bit about your family. You guys are gorgeous, and your two sisters are in the military? (She laughs.) Yeah, my older sister was in the army in Canada, and my younger sister in Somalia.

"In my country, Somalia, 75% of the population is under 30. Some 60% of that population is under the age of 15. It is a country of children. So when we talk about child recruitment, it is incredibly rampant."

It’s just amazing to see that. Thank you.

"Somalia desperately needs, a woman leader. I believe it. Whether that’s me or someone else, I don’t know yet. I don’t want to be on the periphery, on the outside, advocating for things, recommending against some, holding up signs. I know that real change happens from within the system, and one day I’ll join."

And you guys always knew that you had that in you, the fire— I really attribute my thinking, and my sisters’ thinking, if I can speak on their behalf, to our mother. She is an incredible force. So, as a young woman of color, what are the challenges you face when it comes to establishing your credibility in a space full of male leaders? A lot of these places I work in, whether it’s advocacy or an advisory role in institutions like the UN, working on issues like security, which are male-dominated, there are a lot of limitations and challenges that you face that you realize are linked to generalizations about young, African, black, Muslim women. It’s an image where you’ve traditionally been painted as the victim, and she’s not part of the solution. So, changing people’s mindset on that has been challenging. But I think it’s about determination and really living by example. I have great friends working on the front lines in South Sudan, north Mali, north Nigeria, friends that are in Arab states and in the middle of conflicts and are leaders in their communities. A big part of changing the mindsets and narratives of these young women working in these very male and white spaces has been having a networking community of women supporting each other. Ilwad for Somalia president one day? Ilwad for Somali president— does have a nice ring. (She laughs.) I don’t know, I don’t know. I think that we need, Somalia desperately needs, a




woman leader. I believe it. We are ready for a woman leader. Whether that’s me or someone else, I don’t know yet, but I definitely believe in putting your feet where your mouth is. We talk a lot about legislation, about policy reform, about the institutionalized role of women, and that also includes me being in these spaces. I don’t want to be on the periphery, on the outside, advocating for things, recommending against some, holding up signs. I know that real change happens from within the system, and one day I’ll join. Awesome! So, if you are president, what are the three things you will change immediately? I would do security sector reform. And that includes having more women in senior positions within the security. I’m not just saying that because I’m a feminist, but really because security



needs to be a whole-society approach and not just military solutions. It needs community, and who is better placed to do that than women? I would also focus more on producing local products. Right now, one of the biggest problems in Somalia is that almost everything is imported. Things that we can generate within the country are being imported. It’s keeping a lot of people out of jobs. It would contribute to decreasing the destitution and the extreme poverty we are facing if we generated our own products instead of importing them. And finally, I would also focus more on the rebranding of Somalia. That means that I would have ambassadors all around the world talk about the beauty of the country and populating all the media sources with talk about how gorgeous this country is. We need to put positive propaganda out there.

What makes you feel alive; what inspires you? You give so much; I would guess you have to find a place of restoration for yourself. Yeah, definitely. You can’t continue to give if you don’t replenish yourself, too. And this is something that I learned recently, actually. I didn’t have a daily practice before, or something that really helped me become centered again so that I can continue to be the person I need to be, and the best version of myself. For now, it is practicing yoga. That’s what’s really helping, and it’s not just about my own journey; it’s about the community I do it with. I really, really, really enjoy it. I look forward to it when I can practice with the girls in my program, and they are my fans, and when we get to sweat it out on the mat together, it centers me.

“I hope that in five years’ time, I’m not just responding to issues, to violence, and supporting the individuals coming after they’ve been affected. I hope in five years’ time I am putting in place either legislation, or mechanisms, or frameworks that will prevent these things from happening”.

What would you tell your 15-year-old self? Hmm, I would tell myself that you really CAN do everything. And that you are stronger than you think; you can endure so much. But you have to just pace yourself. You can make it through anything, but pace yourself. Don’t be mediocre, don’t write an angry email, and don’t respond when you are emotional. You can make it through any challenge that is presented, you can! But just … pole pole.. slow down. (She laughs.) That’s what I would tell myself. Where do you see Ilwad in five years? I hope that in five years’ time I will still be working on issues that matter to me most. That’s creating impact, that’s building stronger communities. I hope that in five years’ time, I’m not just responding to issues, to violence, and supporting the individuals coming after they’ve been affected. I hope in five years’ time I am putting in place either legislation, or mechanisms, or frameworks that will prevent these things from happening.

I would do security sector reform. And that includes having more women in senior positions within the security. I’m not just saying that because I’m a feminist, but really because security needs to be a whole-society approach and not just military solutions. It needs community, and who is better placed to do that than women? APRIL 2018 | TAP MAGAZINE

















articles on 100 new

more subscribers



$ 50,000 USD SPENT ON AFRICAN YOUTHS This year, we've put a lot of energy and resources in investing in young African entrepreneurs and creatives. In total, both directly and indirectly we’ve invested over $50,000 USD on African creatives and entrepreneurs including artists, graphic designers, writers, small and medium size companies

TWO NEW OFFICES IN NAIROBI/ KIGALI We are also ending the year in style having just opened offices in Nairobi and Kigali this December.




Styled by : Pierra Ntyaombya Make Up : Ivan Mugemanyi Photos by : @XVXYPhoto Model @NezaRachel






Introduce yourself to the TAP Audience My name is Rachel (Neza) Uwineza and I was born in Kampala, Uganda, and raised in Kigali, in my parents’ home country of Rwanda. I am the second-born in a family of six siblings. My parents met in Uganda in 1994, during the Genocide against the Tutsi. Like other families of refugees, they fled to neighboring East African countries before going back to Rwanda after the genocide, where I went to school from kindergarten on. What were some of your best childhood memories? I have good memories of growing up with four brothers. I only knew how to play boy games, like climbing and gymnastics, and I was in our

school parade. I loved wearing clothes with pockets, like jumpsuits, skirts, dresses or shorts—anything with pockets, which I still like. (She laughs.) Memories to forget? I don’t know if I have any bad memories of those days, but I do remember that I was always at the back of lines, or on the side, because I was taller than everybody else, and it always made me feel uncomfortable. But I came to embrace it. As a kid, growing up in a spiritual family, praying all the time for everything, going to church, I didn’t like it, but now I thank God for parents who instilled in me the value of putting God first in everything that I do.



MODEL FEATURE What was it like growing up in post-Genocide Rwanda? It was difficult. The Genocide left a sad stain on our country’s history, and I remember growing up, at school and everywhere else, there were so many kids who were orphans. It was very rare to find a child with both parents. How did you get into modeling? Why was this important for you? Modelling wasn’t something I ever thought I’d do. I was never the most beautiful girl in the neighborhood, but a lanky, tall, dark girl with curly hair. At the age of 16, I overheard my uncle say to my mom, “Watch out for this one, wait until she grows up ntawuzamukira”—meaning he thought I would be really beautiful. By the time I was finishing high school, friends and random people had already started to ask me to consider a career in modeling. The problem was that I was very shy. All it took was one catwalk down the aisle and the feedback I got thereafter for me to fall in love with modelling. I might be biased, but I think that Rwandan women are very beautiful. With support and exposure, I am sure a Rwandan woman will be crowned Miss World in the near future. Were your parents supportive of you becoming a model? Not at the beginning. My parents were not supportive at all! Coming home late at night from shows and shoots, they didn’t take it well. They would argue that I was exposing myself and not taking life seriously, but now they’re slowly accepting that modelling can be a career like any other. I think it was because of their religious beliefs that they first found it difficult




that their daughter was out there “modelling.” What has been the highlight of your career thus far? My professional accomplishments thus far include working with the producers of NYFW LDJ and with big fashion houses in Rwanda. I was the face of Collective Rwanda 2017, Made in Kigali, Haute Baso, SM, Rwanda clothing, House of Tayo, Kampala Fashion Week 2016 and 2017, GT Bank Fashion Week 2017 in Nigeria, Cosmetic Brands, Rwandair and Tigo Rwanda. Why do you love this work? I model because I love fashion and art. Modeling is the best way I have to communicate to the society that I want to inspire. When you model, how do you feel? Modeling is like acting. When I am on the runway, I am more confident, and I feel like I’m on top of the world. I just focus on the photographer, not the crowd—that’s the attitude. When in photo shoots, I’m always conscious about the outcome that the client expects, so I give it my all. But mostly I have fun. I’ve heard you’re really big on conservation. Where did that come from? I was always passionate about nature growing up. My dad always told us to switch off lights when we didn’t need them and to turn off the tap whenever it was dripping. I recently realized that he was teaching us about energy saving, just by encouraging those small, everyday actions everyone can take. I believe nature is a gift from God,

MODELLING WASN’T SOMETHING I EVER THOUGHT I’D DO. I WAS NEVER THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, BUT A LANKY, TALL, DARK GIRL WITH CURLY HAIR. everything surrounding us, including animals, so it’s important that we protect it so that future generations find it beautiful and safe. I mean, who doesn’t like to breathe fresh air and drink clean water? Talk a bit about Rwanda and conservation. Already, Rwanda has tremendous achievements as far as environmental policies are concerned. For example, the government of Rwanda has banned polythene bags from entering the country. Umuganda (a Rwandan word that means “coming together for a common purpose”), a cleaning program that takes place on the last weekend of every month [in which work halts so citizens can participate], contributes to the transformation of the country, with communities helping to keep the country clean. Rwanda’s capital is listed as Africa’s cleanest city.







How do you celebrate your birthdays? I started a tradition of planting at least one tree on my birthday, just like a birthday cake, as a contribution to Mother Earth, and I’ve invited my friends and the public to join and make the world a better place for ourselves and for future generations. I'm very passionate about conservation, and I believe that together we can make a difference. Your parting shot‌ LOVE IS EVERYTHING



EssieSpice: West-African flavors at your dinner table

The Fantastic Four




Dar has so many options and places you can go to. The city is known for its coast, the ocean…the great indian ocean & the food. Dar people don’t seem to need an excuse to party or celebrate either, no matter what day of the week. They turn up like they don’t have work or church in the morning. (good company). This is your official TAP Mag Dar nightlife guideline. For this piece we reached out to one of Dar’s favorite personalities Pie & Ian.

Images by Athumani Nzowa (IG: @Mani24tz)





riendswithnobenz (FWNB) is the creation of Dar-es-Salaam based duo, Pie and Ian, whom together created a shared Instagram page that first started as a joke aimed at poking fun at one and other for personal laughs. It has since evolved into somewhat of a brand of its own that showcases their friendship and creativity in promoting and enjoying the Dar nightlife. Whether you catch them at one of their advertised “Meet and Greets” or at their “Headquarters”, the duo is all about spreading positivity, the joys of the city, and the pleasure of doing it with friends... Even without a benz. P: I took the liberty of googling a little bit about dar beforehand I: obviously, you have to google P: but I knew from the start that Dar’s name translates to ‘haven of peace’. But I found out that the actual translation from Arabic is closer to ‘home of peace’, which I like better…but then again, Wikipedia doesn’t have all the answers. I: quick lines about our history: we



got our independence in 1961, and our first president was mwalimu Julius nyerere. P: we’re about 5 million people in Dar I think…and we are actually one of the fastest growing cities in Africa I: commercially too, we’re growing really fast P: we’re the economic capital of the whole country I: but we’re not the country capital of

the city P: that’s actually my pet peeve, when whole publications mess that up. And what are we to the world? I: we are known for the coast, the ocean…the great indian ocean.


I: you’re like the party animal between the two of us, you should answer this

WE’VE ALREADY MENTIONED THE ISLANDS AS A PLACE TO GO. IN ADDITION TO THAT, THE HISTORICAL SITES AND MUSEUMS ARE COOL PLACES TO GO AND LEARN ABOUT THE CITY ON A MORE FACTUAL LEVEL. THEY STILL HAVE MWALIMU NYERERE’S ROLLS ROYCE OVER THERE! P: wow untrue. Whenever we go out, you’re the one who ends up knowing everyone…but anyway, whatever I say will be super biased since i’m from here, raised here and have deep ties here. But in all honesty, this place is so live. What do you think? I have more to say but you go (liveliness) I:..Dar has so many options and places you can go to. If you get bored of one place you can go to the next, and its probably popping. (variety) P: I also think that we know how to have a good time. Dar people don’t seem to need an excuse to party or celebrate, no matter what day of the week. We turn up like we don’t have work or church in the morning. (good company) I: and the price is reasonable… friendly even. You know, friends with no benz type.

P: wow. Plug. I: And the weather!! It doesn’t really restrict us, we don’t have to stress about the weather so much, unless it’s the rainy season

your best bet is staying in mikocheni or in masaki, since they are the closest to the places that would make your stay more comfortable….the price of staying there however?

P: that’s true. Rainy season is around March to April, or early June…and even then people will still be out, but definitely far less as the roads can get pretty messy

P: yeah, to actually stay in a place in masaki would be quite expensive. I: where would the average tourist stay though? Airbnb, and they would be in masaki or mikocheni


I: I wouldn’t say Dar is an expensive city. P: You can find a good range of activities and locations depending on your budget for sure I: finding a place in your budget,

P: fine that’s true. Airbnb would probably have the best deals for places you can stay, but places like bed and breakfasts would be very pricey. If you’re a hotel person, the expensive majority are in town, and those are niiiiice.



TRAVEL are in between mbezi and masaki they have more options. Most of the time all roads lead to Tips Lounge


P: where do you think someone should be staying? I: i suggest an airbnb first and foremost. But of course depending on your budget, you could decide on a 3-5 star hotel P: the advantages of the hotels is that they are the safest in terms of security, and access to luxury and even some nice bars and even a club if you go to the right one I: the advantages to staying in an airbnb, other than price, is that you get to have a more homely feeling, and you get to experience how everyone lives around you a little more (local). Popular options for young people on a budget would be airbnb, and then through your host’s recommendations you can find out the best places to go that you might not be able to get from a hotel experience P: so again, masaki and mikocheni are the popular areas. And again, I’m noticing how biased we are because that’s where we live…but we’re



not lying either! Everyone will show up to those areas without fail, every weekend.


P: for us masaki people, or those who end up in our ends, Elements Lounge ends up being the spot for the weekend. But there are also places like Triniti, George and Dragon, now Octagon, and so many other places for the bar vibe. But there are also more events that cater to people who are interested in poetry jams and more artistic spaces I: right, recently there was a pop up exhibition hosted at the renaissance plaza, and there are things like Lyricist Lounge, where creatives can showcase their poetry, music, or other talents. That’s a beautiful time. And there’s also Nafasi art space which is always hosting free art shows and workshops throughout the week.

I: people club, and bar hop. For people in mbezi beach (farther away from the club scene in masaki), they would normally go to The Pallet or The Hangover

P: and then we get festivals such as the ‘nyama choma festival’ which comes around every so often. That starts in the day time and can be a fun event to go with the whole family, have some meat and some beers maybe, you know, enjoy the live music.. Which later leads into the night-time too which is also a nice vibe after a full day of eats and drinks. I: other general activities that aren’t necessarily always hosted by event planners, are those impromptu (or planned) days at the neighboring islands, like Mbudya or Bongoyo. Grab a bunch of your friends and fakes, head to the island with your drinks, and spend the day surrounded by the clearest water you’ll experience in this city & possibly East Africa

P: I’ve never even heard of The Hangover. I’m such a masaki kid. I: for the people in mikocheni, who

P: okay, chill on ‘east africa’...zanzibar exists. And fanjove island. Now that water is CLEAR

P: A gift to dar es salaam. Remember when we didn’t have uber, Ian? I: bajaj life was the way only. Also known as tuk-tuks, or rickshaws. P: and it’s important to add that if you go with the uber option, it’s best to note on the app that you will be paying with cash instead of card, because I’ve heard of plenty people who can’t catch an uber ride for that reason.


I: And so does Diani. *smirks* P: you’re going too far Ian, don’t give it to them.


I: Oh man, should we talk about the food? I root for local food. The Zege aka the Swahili omelette (made with fries & eggs), I’d definitely recommend going to Edos Chips located along Kimweri Ave. Get that shit with some Mshikaki (Barbeque-roasted goat/ beef ) and you’ll have the itis even before the plate’s cleared. P: Mega shoutouts to Jackie’s bar one time! I: How DARE I leave jackie’s out, yikes! P:that’s our official unofficial headquarters. Right there on what I like to call the masaki strip. They consistently serve the best supu ya ulimi, which is cow tongue soup...i think it’s cow. I: Why arent we talking about the Seafood? Like where would you go for great Seafood? P: Thai Kani, hands down!! They have some of the best sushi there is to have in dar. And their thai food is excellent as well, oh wow, i’m salivating at the thought of it. Delicious food with a view, can’t go wrong. I: I never was a fan of sushi until I had some from Thai Kani and that changed my whole perspective P: another quaint place that we both enjoy is The Olive. it’s such a chill space, and they let you get creative with building your own juices and smoothies. They host events every now and then too which suits the cosy ambience they’ve

managed to create there. I: and Central Park Cafe in Upanga is another necessary visit. Beautiful space with a great variety on their menu. Highly recommend.


could happen in busy places, but they also have a bar there and serve delicious fish mshikaki. You simply cannot go wrong with a combo of Mshikaki and beer...or even konyagi. I: Shoot, might as well go for both P: go ahead and show yourself some love.

I: we’ve already mentioned the islands as a place to go. In addition to that, the historical sites and museums are cool places to go and learn about the city on a more factual level. They still have Mwalimu Nyerere’s Rolls Royce over there!


P: you know what, i’ve never been inside the museum! and its my constant regret. We should go! We can record it for the vlog I: ayy, shoutouts to our vlog, stay tuned for it everybody. It’ll be out by 2087...or perhaps sooner?

P: dang, all over the damn place it seems. For sure to catch the cool kids and TZ celebs, you have to attend events like Brunchin’, Life’s A Beach, Groove Theory, and saturday kickbacks at East 24. I: Basically the organized or sponsored events hosted by specific creative collectives. And on a regular weekend night it’s usually Elements, where the majority of people go.

P: yeah, you keep teasing the fans Ian. get their hopes up! People hound us so much for this vlog man...but seriously, back to the question. I think people should go to Coco Beach, its always busy with people. Keep watch of your belongings though, you never know what

P: And again the islands, or even more exclusively, on boats I: that’s real. There’s also the chance to rent out boats for a whole day, so people might end up doing that to have a different vibe to close off or enjoy their weekend.






I have not come to speak of Death, I have come to speak of Life. I have not brought with me the Darkness, But have carried the Light of a thousand suns to your door, That they may shine through your darkest night, I have not come to sing a song of sorrow, Like the sunbird that weeps at the passing of the day. I have not come to remind you of tears, but of triumph, Of a proud people, rising, their dignity written upon the sky.

I have come to show you a future, Which began when I emerged from the fires of hate, Holding the flames of love. Love and Forgiveness are born of pain, They are the wood and nails of this risen land. I was forged in fire, and I remain standing. I am being rebuilt with the wisdom of my people, And guided by their vision of an even greater future. I have come to show you a vision, a place of wonder, of joy, An endless horizon of possibility.

The night has passed‌



Why are you here? What have you

brought to this new world? Let me tell you why I stand before you. I have come to ask you a question. It may seem simple, but it is not. Do you know your name? Do you know who you are? Your gifts are of no use to me if you do not. For only when you know yourself, Can you begin to know me, and to help me, build a new tomorrow. I will tell you my name. It means, Origin, Beginning, the Source. Who am I.... I am Africa and Welcome to RWANDA.

B old, Aut h e n t i c a n d Co l o rf ul D e s i g n ... W h e re Tra di ti ona l Cra ft M e et s Co n t e mpo ra ry St yl e . W W W . INZU K I . COM FOR MORE INFORMATION

Tel: 250 ( 0 ) 786249039 | Email: i nzuk i des i g ns @ g ma i l . com | Like us: ww w.fa ce b in zu kid esign s Follow us: w w w.t w itter. co m/i nzuk i des i g ns | Our store is located in Kigali City Center. Boulevard de la Revolution , Ndaru courtyard ( across BCR) Boutique 001.






Stonebwoy 29, (born Livingstone Etsey Satekla) has already appeared on Grammy nominated projects and is widely regarded a successor to such African reggae pioneers as Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy, and Rocky Dawuni.

By Gabriel Myers Hansen (@myershansen) Images by @XVXYPhoto


hy my phone wouldn’t just stop buzzing, I wondered, more asleep than awake. It was around 5 am that fateful Sunday, and being exhausted from the night before, I had no desire to look at my damn phone. But the vibration persisted, and finally, I stretched a lazy hand toward my nightstand for my Infinix, on which a dozen missed calls and messages from a single contact awaited me. It was Moses (affectionately known as Ras), CEO of The African Perspective (TAP) Magazine. He had just learned of (and instantly become hooked to) Ghanaian Reggae talisman Stonebwoy, after seeing him some thousand miles away at a Toronto gig.



MUSIC “How good is this guy, chale?” he inquired eagerly when I finally returned his call. “Is he a legend in Ghana?” As I contemplated which question to answer first, he exclaimed: “this guy is bad!”, and instantly, I knew what words would follow –the real reason my phone had been quivering at this hour --“we have to have him on TAP!” “Ok Ras”, I sighed. Six months later, on another Sunday, here I am, at the Bermuda Gardens, Accra. It’s 22:50 GMT, and Stonebwoy’s TAP conversation is finally about to happen… STONEBWOY JUMPS FROM THE COUNTER ON WHICH HE HAS BEEN SITTING - his feet stomping gallantly on the concrete floor below. The hoodie of his red sweater comes off in the process, exposing sparkling earrings on his ears, and short braids that bounce excitedly on his scalp. He begins flailing his hands, swiping at the air before him. Behind him, a DJ blasts “Pepper Dem”, a vibrant dancehall number off his recent album “Epistles of Mama”. Mighty tungsten lights surround him, as do members of the crew for this video shoot, and a small crowd that has collected at that side of the bar to behold him. Thoroughly engrossed in his performance, the singer’s gaze remains fixed on the RED camera shooting him, chanting along to the lyrics of the song. The music stops suddenly, and a young lady --a makeup artist --rushes to dab his face which now houses beads of sweat, with a white tissue, and then, with a powder brush. Stonebwoy’s face is tidy once more. He hops onto the counter again.



“From the top!” yells the director, and the music resumes. He jumps down, pretty much the same way he did a short while ago, throwing gun signs, and roaring along to the sound of his own voice. A new-age jewel from the ghettos of Ashaiman (a suburb of Accra), Stonebwoy 29, (born Livingstone Etsey Satekla) is widely regarded a successor

“I’m blessed to come from Africa, there’s never been a better time to be an African.”

to such African reggae pioneers as Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy, and Rocky Dawuni. It is not for nothing. Since beginning his career a decade ago (and over 4 well-received studio projects so far), he has steadily endeared himself in the hearts of music lovers far and near. A repository of rich melody and a charismatic stagecraft, Stonebwoy is now a major African ambassador for the genre on the global front, appearing on Grammy-nominated projects, as well as partnering some of the most influential names in the genre: Morgan Heritage, Sizzla, Sean Paul, Chronixx, Demarco, Kranium, I Octane, Pressure,

and a host of others. For those who witnessed the start of his career, his feats are hardly surprising, as he has constantly demonstrated an ethic and style that is both fresh and consummate. Always the humble youth, Stonebwoy is thankful that he comes up at all in conversation pertaining to Reggae legends on the continent: “I’m grateful to even be spoken of, when it comes to names like these”, he tells me during his break, though he maintains that becoming a first-rate act has always been an ambition of his: “I’ve been at this dream for a long time…only time is showing us what dream I have always had”. Franchise act for Ghanaian creative arts giant Zylofon Music, Stonebwoy also runs his independent imprint, Burniton Music Group (BMG), and is ambassador for global lifestyle brand Tommy Hilfiger among other powerful brands. All through our dialogue, he maintains in his eyes, an intense yet warm look. His responses are conveyed in a voice that is molded by both dense conviction and magnetism. Everything that comes out of his mouth is intended, and most likely will cause you to nod…even when he jokes that the scene he just performed was done entirely on an empty stomach. By illustrating superior spirit and drive, this humble ghetto youth has now grown to wield immense influence over fellow youth all over the country, especially those treading the specific streets which once served as setting for his own search for greener pastures. Just last September, a concert he held in honor of the inner city, attracted a crowd of over 50, 000 strong. A 2015 UN report estimates that some 226 million people aged 15-24

live in Africa, accounting for 19% of the global youth population. This number is expected to shoot up to 42% by 2030. With the continent being the only region with a youth populace that hasn’t peaked yet, much of development rests in the energies of young men and women waking the streets of Ashaiman and other such towns all around the continent. The creative arts are, without question, pivotal towards reducing unemployment rates afflicting the youth. Though still not fully explored, the industry already employs millions across Africa, and serves as reference for the new wave of portraits of success –something that Stonebwoy unquestionably is. “…ambassador to the youth, me never force it”, he sings

on “Pepper Dem”, fully embracing this new role that his success has bestowed him with: “Representing for the youth is key for me. I am one; I have to be one to represent. They [the youth] chose me, and I pray to keep living my life and making them understand what message I send across as a ministry”. Whereas being a youth on the continent proves an especially mighty hurdle to surmount, Stonebwoy is confident that ultimately, opportunities exist for all, if only they’re willing to trust the process. “Be strong-minded. It’s ok to grow, it’s okay to be steady”, he is regularly found charging his many disciples. The darling of his Jamaican counterparts (Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley, Sizzla, Chronixx among others

--whom he frequently refers to as his “brothers” during our chat), Stonebwoy observes their mutual admiration for his craft, and how fittingly he represents the movement back on the motherland, as well as an unforced comradery when they meet, often enhanced by social media: “we are all still discovering. With the help of social media, we can all read and learn about each other’s endeavours. When you [finally] meet somebody who is in that line, you can click. That’s how it’s been with me and most of them -- we meet each other at a certain level where we know we are fighting or standing, or representing for the same cause, so it’s easy to gel”. “I’m blessed to come from Africa”, adds Stonebwoy, emphasizing that



MUSIC there has never been a better time to be an African, as people gravitate toward the identity in a unique way: “It’s easy to find an African who can speak several other languages and relate to other people and sell their Africanness to them, than other people speaking African languages to sell their original ethnicities to us”, he further explains. Stonebwoy leads the pack in Reggae/ Dancehall on the continent, but he’s just as prominent in the field of Afrobeats. Indeed, quite a number of his most-known submissions have arrived as Afrobeats. “Master of it all”, he proclaims of himself, and his ability to blend his influences. Epistles of Mama is a 24-track twin CD divided equally into Reggae and Afrobeats sections. That is testament to what a major component Afrobeats is to the modern African sound. It would appear that on the continent, Reggae falls in 3rd place behind Afrobeats and Hip-hop, in terms of popularity. But Stonebwoy argues that the reverse is the case, indicating that while Afrobeats and Hip-hop may be dominant today, Reggae is better-known and established, often serving as foundation for Afrobeats. “Everybody knows Reggae”. That statement, with which he ends with, makes better sense upon second thought. Aside his acclaim as talisman for the youth, he’s also seen as perhaps, the foremost African reggae ambassador; the others being Patoranking, Buffalo Souljah, Samini, Shatta Wale, among others. Relentless at this point, Stonebwoy looks not just to participate, but also compete on the global scale, while still remaining true to the path charted by the Lucky Dubes and Rocky Dawunis:




“Reggae music has gone far, and these names have represented the culture – the Reggae music that is from Africa. Although Reggae became a name out of Jamaica, we all know that you can’t talk about Reggae without linking it to the roots …me being next in line only means that we’re gonna take over the world just like they have”. Sidi, Stonebwoy’s manager, who has all this while, observed from a chair behind us, rises gently to his feet. Dark and well-built, he possesses a persona similar to Stonebwoy’s: imposing from a distance, but a charming fella up-close. He says nothing, but it is interpreted all around that we should be wrapping up.

A minute later, the conversation comes to a close.. We shake hands and exchange goodbyes and, flanked by an entourage of two or three, he swaggers to a room out back, where he had changed into his costume for the shoot, and where presumably, a table has been set before him. “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house”, reads Matthew 13: 57 (KJV). Stonebwoy is a prophet alright --it is the prevailing sentiment that exists among the multitudes that constitute his following and indeed anyone who spends even a little time with his music –but unlike the Bible verse, this prophet is revered at home alright. Aside his perpetual presence on the list of top songs in this country, he has picked up every major plaque the country has on offer, including multiple laurels at the Ghana Music Awards. Stonebwoy is also nominee and recipient of several international honors as the BET Awards, IRAWMA, and the MTV Africa Awards. In his lyrics, Stonebwoy has remained brave in envisaging greatness for himself, and gone on to prove it: “If I die today, I’m a hero”, “Like a diamond from the dust, I knew my star will shine”, “whether alive or dead, my name shall forever remain”. Tonight, in the course of our discourse, he proclaims yet another: “Reggae music will never be mentioned without my name”. As intimate witness to his phenomenal journey thus far, I wouldn’t dare you to bet against him. GABRIEL MYERS HANSEN is a journalist and pop critic from Accra. He’s the editor for online portal, contributor for, and Ghana correspondent for The African Perspective. (@myershansen on Twitter).

In his lyrics, Stonebwoy has remained brave in envisaging greatness for himself, and gone on to prove it: “If I die today, I’m a hero”, “Like a diamond from the dust, I knew my star will shine”, “whether alive or dead, my name shall forever remain”. Tonight, in the course of our discourse, he proclaims yet another: “Reggae music will never be mentioned without my name”. As an intimate witness to his phenomenal journey thus far, I wouldn’t dare you to bet against him. APRIL 2018 | TAP MAGAZINE


Open a world of

Possibilitis Possibilities

Making the Difference INVESTORS








RAPHAEL OBONYO on the Challenges facing African youth & their tremendous power & potential

We have a common responsibility to review the place of young people in Africa by putting into practice practical action to improve the livelihoods of the growing population of young people on the continent.




I was born and raised in Korogocho, the third largest slum in Nairobi. From an early age, I had this gut feeling that education was my only hope for getting out of the abject poverty I was living in. In school I befriended my deputy head teacher’s son and we became study partners.

Introduction Raphael Obonyo has won numerous awards for his achievements as an international youth diplomat and advocate, though his remarkable story began in one of Kenya’s biggest slums. We talked to him about education, the challenges facing African youth, and their tremendous power and potential. Introduce yourself to the TAP family I am a public policy specialist, a diplomat and a youth advocate at the national, regional and international levels. I have served as the external adviser to UN Habitat’s Youth



Advisory Board and as Africa’s representative in the World Bank’s Global Coordination Board on Youth and Anti-Corruption. Also, I am co-founder and a member of the advisory council of the Youth Congress, a premier youth-led organization in Kenya. Tell us about where you grew up and share some childhood memories. I was born and raised in Korogocho, the third largest slum in Nairobi. I am the fourth-born in a family of nine, and we used to live in a single house with our dad and mum. My dad was a cook

at the University of Nairobi Canteen, and he used to walk to and from work daily. From an early age, I had this gut feeling that education was my only hope for getting out of the abject poverty I was living in. In school I befriended my deputy head teacher’s son and we became study partners. The teacher, a Mr. Kariuki, would buy books and other school items both for me and his son. I am very grateful to him. I couldn’t study or do homework at home because our house was small and the family was big, so Mr. Kariuki opened his home so that I could study

with his son on weekends. I was always number one in class, and his son would be second—or vice versa. Despite all of our hardships as a family I managed to be the top Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) student in Kasarani Division. I was invited to one of the National Schools, but my dad couldn’t afford it. He was actually proposing that I join the jua kali (informal labor) sector as a mechanic. After hearing about my case, my friends at St. John Catholic Church in Korogocho came together and raised enough money for me to pay my firstterm tuition at Dagoretti High School. I went to school wearing donated second-hand uniform items and carrying Ksh20 [about 20 cents] in pocket money, but I sat in class with children of very wealthy, prominent Kenyans. I was always being chased from school because my fees were constantly in arrears. During school visiting days, I would be traumatized watching fellow students being visited by many relatives bringing huge shopping bags and good food. I rarely got visits, save for the few times my sister came by and brought me a bag of chips and sausage from Luthuli. But the determination to liberate myself and my family from the yoke of poverty kept me focused on my studies. During holidays I would walk from Korogocho to MacMillan Library in town and back to study, since our little house was too crowded and there was no library nearby. I performed fairly well and joined the University of Nairobi, where my dad worked as a cafeteria cook. He was so excited to have me there as a student that he introduced me to all his colleagues and superiors, including his boss, whom he

graciously assigned the task of helping me choose the courses. Tell us a bit about your academic journey to Duke University and back. After my studies at the University of Nairobi, where I graduated with a degree in finance, I did community work in Korogocho before clinching a scholarship to do a Master’s in Public Policy at Duke University in the United States. How did you get into the work that you’re doing with the UN? When the call came to present profiles for election to the position of Special Advisor, United Nations Habitat’s Youth Advisory Board, I sent my profile in. It got the highest number of votes in a global vote! Through this UN position, I have travelled the world, about 90 countries. I’ve spoken in global gatherings and met and shared platforms with presidents and key global leaders. I also sit on the youth boards of other international bodies, like the World Bank. Why did you start the Obonyo Foundation and the Youth Congress? I grew up in the Korogocho slums and experienced childhood poverty first-hand. And I know too well what this can do to a child’s dream of pursuing an education. This is one of the reasons why, at heart, I have such an interest in pushing the youth agenda in matters of unemployment, education and development. Through various youth-targeted community programs that I have initiated, I have a championed formal and informal education amongst the youth, especially from poor

It is said, and I believe it is true, that if you want to know the future of any society, just look at the condition of its youth. Youth are the future of Africa. If we fail to invest in them, Africa’s future will be tragic. neighborhoods. I strongly believe that education—both formal and informal—can transform lives and develop societies. I have initiated various youth and community development projects in Korogocho, including the Miss Koch Girls Education Initiative (1999), Koch FM (2006), the Youth Congress of Kenya (2007), and Kenya Youth Media (2011). Notably, the Youth Congress of Kenya and Kenya Youth Media have trained many young people from Korogocho in entrepreneurship skills, film and journalism. After the training, Kenya Youth Media and the Youth Congress have helped these young people access capital to start small businesses. This has resulted in improved living conditions and reduced poverty levels amongst the youth. The support has also led to a reduction in criminal activities as more young people begin to earn a decent living. Before then, violent robberies, rapes and child prostitution were rampant in Korogocho. In 1999, I mobilized other young people in the neighborhood to help change negative perceptions about insecurity and crime. That is when I co-founded the Miss Koch Girls Education Initiative, to encourage







residents to appreciate the beauty within Korogocho and not destroy it. This brought people from the world over to Korogocho, to see not just poverty, insecurity and crime, but also the beautiful and good things coming from within this community. The initiative organized fundraising dinners that created scholarships for needy and brilliant girls from Korogocho. Over 300 girls have been beneficiaries of the education scholarships. This also led to a reduction in the number of underage girls engaging in prostitution in Korogocho. It is for this reason that, in 2008, I established the Obonyo Foundation, so that we can widen access to education opportunities for needy and brilliant children. Today, about 500 students from Korogocho, Mathare, Baba Dogo and other impoverished neighborhoods within Nairobi are beneficiaries of the foundation scholarships. What is the status of youth generally in Kenya and Africa? Youth are Africa’s future, yet many of them lack employment. It is estimated that 70 per cent of the jobless in Africa are young people. We have a common responsibility to review the place of young people in Africa by putting into practice practical action to improve the livelihoods of the growing population of young people on the continent. In particular, Africa must engineer sustainable development by supporting labor- and skill-intensive economic activities to create jobs for youth and reduce poverty. This can be done by nurturing the growth of high-productivity activities, particularly manufacturing and services, which benefit from agglomeration economies.

Policy and institutional interventions should ensure that productivity improves in the manufacturing sector. Secondly, there is a need to improve productivity in the agricultural sector, to transform rural-urban economies and achieve sustainable urbanization. A vibrant agricultural sector raises labor productivity in the rural economy, which in turn reduces migration from rural to urban areas. Governments should redouble their efforts to make agriculture appealing to young people and to increase investment in agriculture to address growing youth unemployment. What would you say are the three biggest issues affecting young people in Kenya/Africa? How do we solve issues affecting African youth? First, youth unemployment. This is one of major problems facing the continent. Young people account for a huge percentage of the unemployed. A 2011 World Bank survey showed that about 40 per cent of those who join rebel movements are motivated by a lack of jobs. We need practical action to improve the livelihood prospects of young people. Second, leadership. The time has come to reflect on the vital importance of accountable leadership. One important fact that Mo Ibrahim has exposed is that Africa is in urgent need of visionary and committed leaders. Human rights violations, repressive leadership and massive corruption continue to characterize African countries decades after we achieved independence. It is also sad that in Africa, wealth and economic power

have been a major influence in getting to positions of political power. Young Africans must think of building a new generation of visionary and selfless leaders. And more important, they must elect credible leaders who can stand the test of time. Youth have the potential to change the future of Kenya and can help the country unleash its full potential. Across the continent, leaders are getting younger. But leadership based only on age is not a silver bullet. The value of youth lies not only in their age, but also in their vision, creativity, and values. What Africa needs is leaders with a bold vision and unwavering commitment to service. The third major issue is inequality. The 2014 International Monetary Fund

world economic outlook report shows a continent that, though recording impressive growth needs several things fixed to improve the livelihood of its population. According to the report, six out of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are from Africa. The recent discovery of certain natural resources in a number of African countries has led to increased flows of foreign direct investment. However, despite this tremendous growth story, poverty levels still remain high and affect about 45 per cent of the region’s households. What will happen to the future of Kenya/ Africa/the world IF we fail African youth today? It is said, and I believe it is true, that

if you want to know the future of any society, just look at the condition of its youth. Youth are the future of Africa. If we fail to invest in them, Africa’s future will be tragic. I have faith in African youth. My passion for youth is founded on the full inclusion of young men and women, and on the enormous potential we have to create a better future for ourselves and for others. Deprived youth are a threat to Africa’s political stability, social cohesion and economic prosperity. Tell us more about youth in relation to politics and political violence. Youth must have a role in shaping their own future. They must see and use elections as a mechanism for peaceful





and democratic rotation of leadership and not as an opportunity for violence. No one can claim ignorance of the cost of violence to our economy, human rights, human dignity, or progress. The cost is borne by all of us, not just those who perpetuate the violence. Young people have an important role to play in ensuring peaceful elections, because violence destroys their future. Make no mistake; the democratizing power of elections and the better future that the youth desire cannot be achieved in the absence of peace. Youth must demonstrate love for peace, regardless of our political orientation and ethnic identity. Violence has absolutely no place in the electoral process. We all have a right to support political parties and candidates of



our choice, and each one of us is fully worthy of respect and dignity. We can love our choices, without hating what other people like. How do we create jobs for young people entering the job market today? We must get the right formula to tackle youth unemployment in Africa. We need mechanisms to ensure that we create opportunities for these young people. This can happen through the promotion of trade and investment, reform of education to match requirements of the labor market, support for entrepreneurship, and investment in labor-intensive sectors. What does the future look like for African youth, and what do Kenyan/ African young people have to offer the world? The future will depend on the choices that we make. Kenya, like many African countries, has a youthful population. However, this important segment of the population is vulnerable and suffers the brunt of unemployment. Youth shouldn’t be seen simply as a problem, or even as people with problems. They represent dynamism, talent, and energy that must be harnessed for our country to make real progress. It should go without saying that the youth are Africa—and we cannot leave Africa behind. Anything else you’d like to add? I have authored a book, Conversations about the Youth in Kenya. I wanted to tell our story as young people, in the way we know it: our challenges, and what we believe to be the solutions.

The book discusses the need for investment in Kenyan youth as the country’s greatest asset. The book, which includes a foreword by Kenya’s former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, proposes innovative solutions to some of the challenges faced by youth in the country. I also have some humbling awards under my name that include: • 2017 Leaders of the Year, Africa Youth Awards • 2017 Pan Africa Humanitarian Award, Pan African Humanitarian Summit • 2016 UN Persons of the Year, United Nations • 2016 UN Global Youth Voice, United Nations I feel honored and humbled by this list at the same time. Whoever thought that a young man from the depths of poverty—the slums of Korogocho— would get such honors? The awards affirm that life portends limitless possibilities and opportunities. The awards demonstrate our resilience, and speak to our highest aspirations as Kenyan youth—that in the face of unimaginable difficulties, we can beat the odds, change the shape of history and create a better future for ourselves and for others. The awards show that our youth are not only about “lack,” but also about “potential”—vision and action for social progress and development. I do not consider this a mark of my achievement, but a call to action. These awards have inspired me to do more, and to do better, and I hope they will inspire somebody out there to be the desired change. Indeed, a better world is possible if we take action.



Black Panther’s mission statement was simple, all black everything! So one is left to wonder, what is the real world impact of this film?




’m honestly still basking in the glow of #WakandaForever and the enormous success that was Black Panther’s opening weekend which, was estimated at 520 million dollars. Black Panther made $1 Billion in ticket sales after 4 weeks and is now 10th highest grossing film of all time, third highest grossing in North America and has sold more tickets in US than Titanic (without accounting for inflation). It goes without saying that I am extremely proud of what the director, cast, producers and everyone else involved in the production of this film have done. And let me be frank, I was initially both excited and worried that this movie might not be the smash hit needed to justify the investment in such a predominantly black film. One based on an immersion into the black experience globally and the African experience specifically. But am I ever glad to say that it was all worth it, and I personally believe we have yet to see the true impact of Black Panther on mainstream culture. Panther on mainstream culture.

The Crew

Black Panther’s mission statement was simple, all black everything! Written and directed by Ryan Coogler a young black man from Oakland, California this film is Afrocentric by design. From the black writers to the cast all the way down to sound design and extras black talent is everywhere seen or unseen. The most obvious component of which is the stellar cast comprising; legends such as Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett, established stars like Lupita

Nyong’o and Michael B Jordan, and up-and-comers such as Letitia Wright and Winston Duke. The interaction between these fully realized characters is what informs events of the plot and let me say this right now, my beautiful black sisters we are going to do better listening to you. The visual department and sound design all follow suit by pulling inspiration from the motherland and does an excellent job in immersing you in a fictional world that somehow feels familiar. Everything from the film’s composer Ludwig Göransson’s wise choice in collaborating with African artists like Baaba Maal to the soundtrack being blessed by none other than Kendrick Lamaar help create this movie’s afrofuturistic sonic soundscape. And these design decisions permeate the film in a visual sense too, from the architecture on display in Wakanda to the vibrant, regal and deadly dress which the various tribes wear


prominently. The filmmakers infused Afrofuturism into every frame of this movie and I believe that these unseen elements are what contributed to the feel of authenticity I had upon viewing. Ensuring that the audience felt the same was what I anticipated this film’s biggest burden to be and Black Panther leaps above such tiny obstacles and never freezes.

The Plan

Any of those familiar with Ryan Coogler (see; Fruitvale Station, Creed) were confident that he would put his stamp on the film and he does so here while being uncompromising in its black essence. The fictional nation of Wakanda is the product of a multitude of inspirations pulled from all over the continent. Be it the border tribes’ blankets from the Basotho people of Lesotho. Or the Nsibidi symbols from Nigeria used as a basis for the Wakandan alphabet. The iconic Dora Milaje for example; wear the neck rings from the Ndebele tribe of South Africa, their red uniform and scarves are inspired by the Maasai people’s traditional dress. Their famed fighting unit is based on a tribe of women warriors from the 1600s in present day Benin called the “Dahomey Amazons” by Western historians. Killmonger’s fierce mask is an Igbo tribal mask from Nigeria. Ghana, Ethiopia, Niger, Mali and many more countries were also be sourced as inspiration for Black Panther. The Pan-African design made sure that the fictitious nation of Wakanda came to life on the big screen. Aside from making an exciting stand-alone film that anyone can enjoy, Coogler and company were dedicated to the authenticity of the



FILM experience they were trying to convey. Now there were definite misses along the way such as the accents not being quite right sometimes but these faults are compensated by the themes of a nation built on cultural diversity and egalitarianism. And basing the central thematic struggle of the movie on the idea of the hypocrisy of a nation aspiring to greatness and a place of global leadership also harboring isolationist and populist rhetoric was a stroke of subtle genius. In addition, the enormous importance of proper representation cannot be overstated. This symbolic and thematic fusion of progressive themes of inclusion and unity is what I was most impressed with. That and the best MCU “villain” in Killmonger. Who thought that the deeper discussion needed between continental Africans and those in the diaspora of African descent would be explored and brought forth to the mainstream level by a comic book movie?

The Payoff

So one is left to wonder, what is the real world impact of this film? First, we have a mainstream representation of black culture for future generations to enjoy. An excellent film in its own right full of images of traditional dress and accessories, vibrant colors, traditional instruments and beautiful black people. Secondly, judging by Hollywood’s very reactionary ways, this film’s financial success will have a positive impact for black creatives and their future enterprises. And thirdly, hopefully this will also spark filmmakers to forget the conventional methods of storytelling in favor of other cultural influences. This movie is in NOT the end all



Global Africans can all take lessons from the narrative of this film; Lessons such as… 1. Africa includes her diaspora (Someone scream Killmonger) 2. African women make the Wakanda go round and are to be listened to and not to be messed with. 3. We can learn from this film that our cultures are diverse and beautiful. 4. This film should inspire us to support black creative talents. Just go see the movie again… 5. Black Panther reminds us that unity shall always trump division (see what I did there?)

and be all of black influence on popular culture, we have been doing that since the beginning of time and shall continue to do so as it is in our very essence. Black Panther is not without its flaws however, it does at times follow the Marvel formula too closely which distracts from its greatest strength, the interactions between its various characters. Some elements such as ancestral vision quests are inherently cheesy as they are derived from the source comic books. Some of the CGI looks iffy at times even to the untrained eye. And most importantly the fact that this movie lacked a major opening night event in Africa itself is a mark against its whole premise. However, people have a tendency of mistaking

milestones for destinations. We all can take lessons directly from the narrative of this film such as; Africa includes her diaspora and African women are to be listened to and not to be messed with. We can learn from it that our cultures are diverse and beautiful. It can inspire us to support black creative talents and that unity shall always trump division (see what I did there?). Black Panther was an excellent step, and although there are many more steps left on the journey, we can proudly say that we shall keep marching on towards the ideal that is Wakanda. Forever. Cy Kari is a lifelong art aficionado. Huge geek in all things litterature, film, music & anime. Find him on IG @Cy.Kari



Tap magazine issue 10